What strange foods have you eaten?
MY ELDEST SON (my Wingman of my hillwalking adventures) is just back from a business trip to Paris, France. Whilst he was there he partook of one of the local delicacies: escargot - snails to you and me!
Now snails are not very appetising to most people outside of France. The thought of eating a slimey, rubbery, creature like a snail turns most folk's stomach but in actual fact, they're not that bad.
How do I know this? Well, as it happens, I have also eaten snails! A few years ago Mrs Kasman and I were invited to dinner in a posh hotel by some new friends of ours. The menu was in French. Now I don't actually speak French but I can work out what most items on a menu are and one of the starters was 'escargot' which I knew was snails.
So, in an attempt to impress our new-found friends with my culinary sophistication, I ordered 'escargot' as a starter (Mrs Kasman wisely chose orange juice). Now I didn't really know what to expect but when the dish arrived I could hardly believe my eyes - the snail was complete on the plate; it looked exactly like a snail would look if you came across it sliming its way along a woodland trail.
Closer examination revealed that it was actually sliced into many thin slices and had in fact been cooked, sliced up and reassembled into a complete (and rather nauseating) very lifelike snail but at least it wasn't crawling about the plate!
I wasn't particularly enthused by my choice but I didn't want to look like a complete fraud in front or our friends so I closed my eyes and stabbed a slice with my fork.
Fortunately, the escargot had been dressed with a very nice vinaigrette dressing and wasn't as disgusting as it looked - in fact it was quite nice. I didn't manage to finish them but at least I didn't throw up at the table!
Afterwards our hostess asked me if I had enjoyed the meal. What could I say other than 'Yes, it was very nice' . She then said that she thought I had been very brave in choosing the escargot - she wouldn't touch it under any circumstances!
Ah well, at least I can say I have eaten snails - even if they do look disgusting!
PS: On his travels my Wingman (who has an adventurous stomach) has eaten not only escargot but also frog's legs, deep fried crickets, chocolate covered ants, dog kebabs and several other unsavoury (to the western mind) dishes!
Image Credit »